Last Friday, U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly spent his 383rd day living in space. The cumulative total broke U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke’s record of 382 days. Next week, Kelly will break another U.S. record – the most consecutive days spent in space. October 29th will mark Kelly’s 216th straight day aboard the International Space Station (ISS). U.S. astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria spent 215 days aboard the station during Expedition 14 in 2006.
Kelly is just beginning the second half of his yearlong stay aboard the ISS. As you can imagine, it can get quite lonely 249 miles above the Earth’s surface.
“A year really is a long time…a long time to never be able to go outside, or feel the sun on your face, or to see your family through anything besides a computer screen,” says Kelly.
One way Kelly soldiers on is with music. “It is a huge part of my life back on Earth. But when living in a place isolated from the rest of the world like here aboard the International Space Station, it becomes more significant. I imagine music will be equally as important to future space travelers as we go further beyond our global sphere.”
Kelly isn’t a shuffle kind of guy either. He listens to them in the order he created the playlist.
“I listen to these songs on this playlist in this particular order because they loosely capture the idea of a year in space from beginning to end for me,” Kelly said.
Kelly’s Year in Space
When Kelly’s feet touch Earth on March 3, 2016 he will have spent 522 total days living in space. Sounds like a lot right? It is, but it doesn’t even come close to the record holder. That honor goes to Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka. He returned to Earth on September 11th and spent 879 total days living in space.
Scott Kelly’s mission is unique. Along with Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, the pair will stay aboard the ISS for twice as long as the average U.S. mission. During this year, the two crew members will work closely with scientists on the ground to see how the human body adjusts to the rigors of space. Besides the obvious effects of weightlessness, NASA also wants to know how Kelly and Kornienko cope with the isolation and stress of long duration spaceflight.
The One-Year Mission will help pave the way for humanity’s eventual journey to Mars. NASA estimates a Mars mission will last 30 months. Understanding the long-term effects of space travel on the human body is a must for any Mars mission to get off the ground.
NASA scientists are covering everything related to the human body. From metabolism:
To how microbes live on astronauts’ skin in space.
You can keep up with all of the One-Year Mission’s progress here.